LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Dr. Rex Horne has been named the new executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).
The ABSC Executive Board approved the recommendation of the Operating Committee, which served as the search team, during a special called meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 10. The decision makes Horne the 35th executive director in the 175-year history of the Convention that began in 1848.
The executive director leads the ABSC staff in serving the needs of and assisting the Convention’s nearly 1,500 churches and encouraging missions cooperation among them. Horne has served as the interim executive director since December.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be named the next executive director of the ABSC,” Horne said. “During these last 10 months, there have been a number of challenges met and steps taken that will have a positive impact on our future cooperative ministries. I will respect all our churches. I will assist and strive to encourage our pastors and their vision. I will listen, learn and lead optimistically in a time that is transitional but can also be transformational.”
Dr. Bill Panneck, senior executive pastor at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro and chairman of the Operating Committee, said they recognized early on that prayer would be the key for the Lord to lead them to “His perfect choice, at His perfect time, in His perfect way.” When the opportunity came to hear Horne’s vision and plans going into the future for Arkansas Baptists, Panneck said it became very clear to the whole team that he was the man to lead them going forward.
“What a privilege it was for me, as chairman of the search team, to recommend Dr. Horne to the Executive Board and have them unanimously approve one of Arkansas’ great statesmen as the next executive director of the ABSC. God is in control and the future for Arkansas Baptists is very bright with Dr. Horne at the helm,” he said.
Dr. Jeff Paxton, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dover and president of the ABSC Executive Board, said he is excited Horne answered the call to be the next executive director for the ABSC.
“Dr. Horne has admirably and effectively served Arkansas Baptists for decades, and I have no doubt he will do the same in the future. His energy, passion, vision, and wisdom, along with his steady hand will lead us well as we endeavor to win the lost for Christ. It is evident God’s Spirit has been upon him, and I’m certain that will be the case as the ABSC moves forward,” Paxton said.
Horne served as pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock from 1990-2006, president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1996-1997 and president of Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) from 2006-2015. Additionally, Horne was a trustee for OBU and a board member for Baptist Health.
The past several years, Horne has also interacted with several Arkansas Baptist churches through his work with the Arkansas Baptist Foundation (ABF) as a consultant for their Capital Campaigns resource.
Horne earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctor of Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Becky, have been married for 50 years. They have four children and 15 grandchildren.